Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by destruction of pancreatic beta cells and consequent lack of insulin production. It affects over half a million children worldwide and its prevalence and incidence is increasing, especially in Europa.
Numerous epidemiological studies reported that type 1 diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and cognitive decline in children and adolescents. Furthermore, an increasing number of studies indicate a link between type 1 diabetes and oral complications, including periodontal diseases and dental caries.
The studies currently available in the literature, which establish the exact prevalence of dental caries among children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes are unfortunately controversial and there is no quantitative meta-analysis in this regard.
Materials and methods
In a systematic review, published on BMC Oral Health, September 2019, the authors performed a worldwide bibliographic research, based on a predetermined search strategy, with PubMed, EMBASE and China National Knowledge, of all the studies concerning the prevalence of dental caries in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes published between July 1971 and December 2018.
The pooled prevalence with 95% confidence intervals (95%CIs) and subgroup analyses were calculated using a random effects model.
Of the 358 articles initially identified, a total of 10 articles involving 538 patients were included in the final review. The overall prevalence of dental caries among children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes was 67%.
Prevalence was higher in South America (84%) and lower in diabetic patients with good metabolic control (47%).
From the data of this review, which must be confirmed in other similar reviews, it can be concluded that the prevalence of dental caries is high among children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Given the high prevalence of dental caries among young people with type 1 diabetes, screening and preventive treatment should be routinely included as approaches in dental clinics for diabetic children and adolescents, especially those with poor metabolic control.
For additional informations: Prevalence of dental caries in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
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